One of my biggest goals in the future is to inspire young people to take more of an interest in social contribution. This is not to say that today’s youth don’t have an interest in making a difference. It’s more of a case of them not knowing their potential. I used to say I wanted to make contribution hipper than hip hop. These days, I’m happy when I see young people interested in contribution at any level.
First, I think it is a question of not having the same sort of role models. Whereas many older adults grew up admiring Gandhi, Mother Theresa, John Kennedy, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, the ubiquitous nature of 21st Century media makes it just as easy to find your heroes on reality TV or in the sports and entertainment industries.
While these things are not inherently negative, I think that they distract attention from a very important fact. Technological advances and global connectivity have our given children, youth and young adults the ability to individually be a beneficial force for good more than at any time or any group before in history. Ironically enough, these folks seem the least interested in doing this in many ways.
For this reason, I’m looking for programs that encourage civic engagement in youth, teach people to use entrepreneurial principles to serve others, or that leverage technology and connectivity to make a difference in the world. If you know of any really amazing programs or examples, please let me know. Thanks in advance.